Wednesday, October 9, 2013


The man behind the Icon

As Joan Collins’ hair stylist, Alyn Waterman knows a thing or two about creating a classic look.
Alyn Waterman with Joan Collins
Alyn Waterman with Joan Collins
WP: How did you get into make-up artistry?
AW: From an early age I wanted to be a make-up and hair artist and I was always involved behind the scenes with school plays.  I trained at the Dawn Cragg School of Film and Theatrical Make up and Hair for two years.  My career started in photographic make-up and then moved into TV.  When I was teaching at my former college, I was lucky enough to meet Linda Davie and that lead to my first television job on Brookside.

WP: What has been your favourite job?
AW: I have enjoyed working on so many television series.  Queer as Folk was an amazing show to work on as I live in Manchester and it was ground breaking as a drama.  Footballers’ Wives was fabulous; great fun and really creative.  Hustle had one of the loveliest groups of actors you could wish to work with.  I’ve also worked with Alison Steadman on Fat Friends and Love and Marriage.  She is a wonderful actress and I feel very fortunate to have worked with her.
Alyn iPhone 2394
WP: With TV shows a certain amount of character development happens through their appearance.  Can you tell us how you go about shaping a character through their make-up?
AW: When I’m asked to design the make-up and hair for a television series, the process involves reading the scripts and initial meetings between the directors and producers taking place to discuss the looks and ideas for the characters.  The prep can involve hours of research and also creating mood boards.  Hopefully you get the job and then when the artists are cast, this is where the real creative process begins.  Often early ideas and looks can change right up to before filming, so you have to be prepared to swap and change your ideas at short notice.  Generally you strive to give each character an individual look so they are instantly recognisable to the audience.  For example, Tanya Turner in Footballers’ Wives had very long nails and these became her trademark.  The actor, of course, also has great input when making hair and make-up choices and sometimes has to go from looking fabulous to frazzled in the space of minutes.  It’s great fun and can be challenging to take a character through these changes within the filming schedule.  However, the show would never happen without a team of very talented make-up and hair artists.

WP: Do you try and develop and evolve their look over the course of a series or try to create a recognisable look for each character?
AW: Currently I am filming series 2 of My Mad Fat Diary.  The scripts are specifically dated between July and November 1996 and the music is a huge influence on the characters: Oasis, Blur, Backstreet Boys and The Spice Girls.  The first series was designed by the talented Donald McInnes and we return to the story as the main cast start college.  The main character, Rae Earl, is in every scene and goes through many different hair and make-up looks.  I rely entirely on my make-up supervisor, Amy Brand, to follow and maintain the character’s looks and changes.  She does a fantastic job and it allows me to focus on designing the new characters and prep for future episodes.  The cast are lovely to work with and we have had great fun recreating the period.  I was working on Brookside in 1996 and have been watching episodes on YouTube for inspiration.  I even have some scrunchies in my kit from way back then.

WP: You’re Joan Collins’ hair stylist; how long have you worked with her and what is she like to work with?
AW: I’ve been working with Joan Collins for over 8 years.  We first met when she was a guest artist on Footballers’ Wives.  Jan Archibald came to look after her for the filming and it was wonderful to work alongside Jan.  I love working with Joan; she is an inspiration and very loyal.  I recently travelled to her villa in St Tropez for Hello magazine which was amazing.
WP: She’s got such a well-established, classic look; how has it adapted over the years?
AW: Joan is foremost an actress and she has the creative input as to how she would like the character’s hair to look.  In the last movie I worked on, her character wore a large red bouffant wig which was a very different look for her.  Joan knows how she looks best and it was great to be involved with the early stages of creating her new wig line, Dynasty Hair Styles by Joan Collins.  She keeps very up to date with all the current trends and looks.  I’ve learnt a lot of great tips from Joan and I have been fortunate to work with such an iconic woman.
Alyn & Joan 2
WP: What are your saviour products for hair and make-up?
AW: My kit consists of many different products and I have many favourites.  I have worked with Dermalogica products for over 10 years and was involved with launching their new primer, sheer tint and cover tint.  Make-up brands I like to use include MAC, Bourjois, Jane Iredale and Art Deco.  I also love Clinique Chubby Sticks, Chanel Vitalumiere Foundation and By Terry.  Hair Products I like are Paul Mitchell, Tigi and L’Oreal Tec Ni Pli.  I’ve also recently discovered amazing Daler-Rowney brushes at Hobbycraft.
WP: What exciting projects are you working on for the future?
AW: Once I finish on My Mad Fat Diary 2, I’m working with Joan Collins again for month’s promotional work.  This year I opened my own studio, Alyn Waterman Make up and Hair, in Birmingham. It’s early days, but I felt the time was right to have a base to work from.  The studio is mainly for bridal work and pamper parties, however, anything is possible and it’s the start of an exciting new chapter.  While I still love filming, it felt the right time to set something up for the future!


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